BEATRICE - An open house was held Monday to hear recommendations of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Community and Regional Planning’s master program, on the issue of downtown Beatrice redevelopment. 

The session was put on by the City of Beatrice and Main Street Beatrice, at the Community Players Theatre.

The recommendations included items such as improved alleys and passage ways, improving foot traffic for business or downtown residential settings...use of upper floor areas for housing...establishing connected commercial and civic space....use of green space through interactive features...development of vacant spaces through public-private partnerships and marketing strategies.

The UNL master program also suggests helping Community Players relocate, but remain in the downtown area....making use of consistent guidelines for store front revitalization...and encouraging small business growth, perhaps through an incubator.

One idea from a previous study that is getting some attention again, is to reroute heavy truck traffic from Court Street south to Market Street.  That could allow for transforming Court Street into a more pedestrian-friendly, slower traffic area for business and entertainment....making use of gathering spots, planted areas and mid-block pedestrian crossings. It could also mean turning one-way streets into two-way travel in the downtown area. 

Another recommendation is making use of open spaces for what's called tactical urbanism...capitalizing on activities such as special events, games or outside cafe' space.

About 275 people responded to a survey about downtown revitalization, conducted by the UNL program.